Editor’s note: After nearly 100 columns, contributor and former Oswego Mayor John T. Sullivan Jr. has filed his last copy. The staff and management of The Palladium-Times thank him for his writing, civic dedication and commitment to his hometown and this publication. We wish him all the best.
As Yogi Berra famously said: When you reach the Fork in the road, take it!
Good advice, as it turns out. I have reached many “Forks in the Road” in my journey from childhood to adulthood, to middle age, and now senior citizenry. It has been a long and interesting adventure, with many chapters, and it is time to turn the page once again.
This month will mark my 96th column in the “Forks” series, and my last. I started writing the column in April of 2013.
I have been privileged to have an outlet for my reminiscences of so many Oswego citizens but as those tales become more scant, it is time to turn the page. For the last two years, I have been proud to call Oswego my home again. I left home in 2003 and returned in 2019. It has been an interesting 16-year journey, and that journey continues — most recently, in Florida.
I have had the good fortune of having good fellowship wherever I have gone, but so far, I’ve found Florida the best place to meet new friends, try to stay healthy and warm and expand my horizons.
Oswego is a very special place. It has a brighter future ahead, and it will always be home to me. You can take the boy out of Oswego, but you can’t take Oswego out of the boy. It will always be in my heart.
It is very difficult to maintain two residences, and so I had a choice to make, deciding to permanently relocate to Florida. I hope to have many visitors from Oswego in my new home, and I will surely visit for several weeks, if not months, a year.
It is heartwarming to see the city booming with so much new development, and to see the revitalization of the waterfront. I am grateful to our mayor, Billy Barlow, for allowing me some input in the process. Barlow had previously named me head of the city’s new waterfront commission, but it is time to pass the torch.
Great things are on the horizon with the potential designation of Fort Ontario and Safe Haven as a national park, and the development of the area’s fishing continues to be strong. Soon, we may even be a central location for underwater exploration as part of the proposed marine sanctuary, and a much-expanded maritime museum. The future is bright, the past is significant and the present presents many opportunities for the city where the water never ends and neither does the excitement.
Several years ago, I coined a four-word catchphrase to initiate Harborfest, “Let the fun begin!” I now can add: may the fun continue, may the future be forever brighter, and may prosperity abound.
So to my fellow Oswegonians I say “Slainte!” and Excelsior! Onward and upward!
John T. Sullivan Jr. has written and published four books: “Forks in the Road” parts I and II, an autobiography, and most recently a memoir of his younger days as a disc jockey entitled “The Live 25 in Hi-Fi Jive.” He is a former mayor of Oswego (1988-91), trained attorney and former officer for the state Attorney General’s office. Sullivan is retired and lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. His books are available at the river’s end bookstore, and online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.